Valeska Knoblauch in Thailand last week (credit Badminton Photo)
Knoblauch with a chance at gold
Date: 9/28/2019 8:14 PM
Published by : Bobby Griffin

A round-robin format in the WH1 women’s singles and a fascinating twist of fate provides us with a chance to see a female gold medal for Europe at the China International.

The WH1 women’s singles competition is evenly poised this week and Valeska Knoblauch is in the hunt for a gold medal. By sheer chance, or by divine intervention, or perhaps a wise and all-knowing organising committee; whatever the reason, there is one match left to decide the champion and that match is Europe versus Asia. Germany versus China. Knoblauch versus Yin Menglu.

Why Sarina Satomi (JPN), the newly crowned world champion and world number one, has not been scheduled to play against China as the Sunday match in this round-robin format is anybody’s guess. What we do know is that Satomi currently sits in silver medal position with Zhang Jing in gold spot. 

Knoblauch sits in bronze position and any win for her would see the German elevated to gold medal spot, and provide her third international title win of the season. A 2-1 games loss would keep Knoblauch in bronze medal position and a 2-0 games loss would mean the position would come down to points for and against to decide third place.

Read: The fight for a place in Tokyo is getting interesting

Coombs - ‘I am buzzing! I can’t believe it’

This morning saw two English stars of SS6 go head-to-head in the semifinal of the men’s singles. A repeat of the 2017 World Championships final and so many other finals around that time, yet these two haven’t met this year and Krysten Coomb’s hasn’t beaten Jack Shephard at any tournament in two years.

The stage was set for a classic. An absolute must-win for Coombs who has fallen off lately and risks his place in the Paralympic Games for Team GB next summer with a loss this week. 

He was defeated in the quarterfinals of the recent World Championships and the Thailand International last week and desperately needs the ranking points, if he is to keep up with Shephard as a contender for the one spot available for a British SS6 men’s singles player to be selected for Tokyo 2020.

A superb performance for Coombs this morning, the 21-11, 11-21, 21-15 win over Shephard gives him a lifeline, and a chance at a gold medal if he is able to defeat Hong Kong’s world number three Chu Man Kai in tomorrow’s final. We caught up with Coombs earlier, he had this to say:

- It’s a massive win for me, and much needed! I won in Ireland a few months ago, my first in two years. To make another final now after a poor couple of tournaments, I think it’s huge. A real confidence booster and has made me realise I can do it.

- I haven’t beaten Jack in any tournament in two years, so to do it at this stage is great for me, he added.

- The conditions were tricky, there is a good and bad end. I dominated the first game and he did the second. I had to get a good lead at the start of the third game and went 11-3 up, I was in a perfect position to try to go point-for-point from the mid game interval and managed to do that said the Englishman.

- I’m buzzing! I can’t believe it. Another final in the Paralympic qualifying period is brilliant and I’ve got Tony tomorrow. I’ve beaten him recently which gives me confidence. I need to go out and show what I can do tomorrow, concluded Coombs.

Follow the China Para-Badminton International 2019 on tournament software here

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